We all know our daily lives are being monitored in this day and age, it’s something we have come to accept. CCTV is on just about every corner, especially in busy cities and town centres.
Then we have internet security cameras in offices and homes as well nowadays, but many of these are unprotected and may be vulnerable to hackers. A bit of knowledge could allow a person to hack in to the stream of a webcam and watch the unsuspecting victims when we’re at our most private and vulnerable…
A most obtrusive algorithm
Nye Thompson focused on this unknown intrusion into our lives with a new exhibition at the Cass Bank Gallery in London. With technical help from Colm Ginty, Thompson has created an algorithm that trawled search engines for any unprotected webcams.
The images in the exhibition reflect what people think they need to keep an eye on. This includes monitoring their children and frail elderly parents, as well as things like plug sockets or recycling bins, according to Thompson.
Her algorithm has been collecting images since the beginning of 2016 and it focuses on a small residential community in Hong Kong.
Thompson explains that: “In China and the far east people are most likely to set up webcams in their private living space, often installing several in a single room, or moving them around”. The exhibition will also see live images streamed into the exhibition to allow visitors to come face-to-face with those unknowingly being watched.
The point of the exhibition? – To highlight the pervasive impact of surveillance technology.
Many people buy webcam devices in order to make themselves feel safer, but due to not protecting their cameras, they make themselves more vulnerable in a completely different way.
Should we be worried?
The concern about “Big Brother” is a long drawn-out argument – you have on one side people growing increasingly concerned at the level of ability which governments have to spy on them. Then on the other side, arguments can be made for how helpful security cameras have become in making people feel safer in their homes.
But we must be careful and make sure that the webcam devices we purchased to make us feel more secure don’t leave us open to being spied on by hackers or others due to poor security flaws.
IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.
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